Disclaimer: Not mines.  Make no money I.  No sue, please.

Author's Notes: We revere them as gods, but if you think about it, they’re just people. Really cute people, but people with doubts and fears and have to shower and belch and go to the bathroom just like everyone else because if you give them life inside your head then they aren’t gods anymore. Life does that, it makes imperfections. That’s how you can tell its life and not something else. And then they become just like anyone else on the street. Except…A lot cuter.

I read a lot of A/L lemons, and I mean a lot, in preparation for this, looking to see for what worked and what didn’t and what had been done and what hadn’t but mainly to figure out how to write lemons period. This is a bit new to me. Not too terribly new, but still new. Rather. Um.

Kudos, gracias, domo arigatou to Kharessa Bloodrose for her support and tips, especially the bits about smut and a stories true purpose which were referred to quite often really.

The style is a lot like Felix McKadden’s, because I’ve been reading a lot of her stuff lately and am completely addicted and I think it works. I don’t think she writes LotR stuff, but she does write quite well. Very well really, even if she has some weird ideas. It’s also a bit of William Faulkner, but he’s dead. If you check on my account at FF.n, there’s going to be a pretty different story for this chapter, mostly previews for the next chapter.

This isn’t going to have a happy ending.

To Hesitate

Part 12

By Gelfling


Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth.

-- Mark Twain


He teased the full set of lips, using his tongue to paint and tickle the insides and the small ticklish curl under the lower lip, smiling gently when he heard the soft exhalation and finger pads pressed like small marbles below his shoulder blades.  His mouth wandered to the jaw line; Legolas gasped again under him and let his eyes tremble shut with a smile as Aragorn’s hands explored not only area, but strength and sharpness as well. 

Humans had always been very inventive, for people who experienced so little.

Roughened fingers gently rubbed the sides of his stomach, tickling him, then scratched around his navel and against the abdomen muscles, making him jerk and gasp.  A thumb rolled and tortured one tender nipple into crimson, making Legolas squirm and his spine writhe, his hips twitching in small jumps.  The long, slender, and attractively solid muscles in his inner thighs were shyly petted before nails bit into them sharply, making them constrict in pain and sweat in pleasure.  Legolas moaned, swallowed the air…and very softly began to beg in Elvish. 

Humans are unusually naïve, yet learn quite quickly.

A raspy sticky warm tongue laved the sweat from the bottom of his chin in long careful strokes, before lowering to suck at the left collar bone, chewing on the skin with his teeth gently, leaving reddened marks that would be yet another bruise on the Elf’s ivory skin, come later. 

A jumpy ragged cry of surprise spouted into the air only to fall back on them like the rain, Legolas’ eyes wide open and blinking rapidly, his breathing deep and full as his cheeks slowly burned to shell pink.  His mouth opened and moved like a loose door, the look of unbelieving surprise never leaving the bright pearly indigo of his eyes.  Aragorn had been very surprised that Elven eyes could change color according to drastic changes in the owner’s mood.  The high color faded out of Legolas’ eyes, leaving warm textured blue slate desert sand.  His cheeks darkened, one ear a strong pink and the other a violent red from Aragorn’s stray caresses and tongue. 

Humans, also, never seemed to run out of energy, for all their mortality.

Warm darkness folded in around them in sheets.




“What were you doing out here?”

“…Before you seduced me?”

“Hm…with my rugged charm and words?  Yes, before that.  Before this…”

Legolas kissed the corner of his lips, a very demonic smirk appearing on his angelic face when he pulled away and Aragorn scowled.

“Damned elf.”

The smirk widened, showing his canines.  Legolas spoke softly, grinning, the soft soprano his voice soothing the nerves and fatigue.

“Gimli sent me out looking for you.  He worries for you greatly.  I was concerned as well; but hadn’t intention to search for you.”

Aragorn lazily glared at him, his eyes tired and sleepy.  Yet the circles beneath them were gone, and his skin seemed smoother, younger almost.  His hair was the color of polished dark mahogany, mussed and tangled like a boy’s.

“That wasn’t very nice of you.”

“You returned the sentiment.”

“So it’s my fault?”


A small smirk twitched on Aragorn’s own lips.

“…If you had told me before you could do that with your tongue we could’ve been friends faster.”

Legolas’ eyes widened innocently, his voice smooth and cordial.

“We were not earlier friends?”

“You threatened to gut me three times, and you were holding a knife for two of them.”

“Only because I was upset.”

“Hm.  I’d hate to see you when you’re furious.”

“I am certain you have.”

“I think I’d remember.”

“I have been.  You simply did not notice…I made certain you did not.”

Normally Aragorn would have teased or pursued this line of thought, but a certain sincerity and quiet in Legolas eyes warned him not to.  It may have been jest, but Aragorn doubted it. 

“…Hm.  Planning to kill me in my sleep then?”

“Of course not.  That is your expertise.”

“Does this mean I can only touch you when you’re awake?”


“Hm.”  Aragorn nodded.

“…You may touch me whenever you desire.”

Very, very few people Aragorn knew would be capable of saying that line, those exact words, with a straight face.  Even fewer people, perhaps no one at all, would be able to say those words with a level tone of voice—without a growl, a purr, a smile, an invitation…without anything except the naked truth and sincerity. 

Aragorn swallowed. 

Shiny gray navy eyes blinked at him, nothing but quiet peace and sincerity in them.  Legolas…meant it.  He truly meant it.  Everything. 

Elves were not known for doing things halfway.

“…Really.  Well…my thanks…”  Aragorn looked down a second, and traced his fingers over the planes of Legolas’ chest while he thought.  Then he smiled and looked into his eyes again.  “And the same honor is returned to you, Legolas.”   Aragorn nudged his nose against Legolas’ forehead and kissed the corner of his eye. 

Aragorn smirked darkly, pale teeth flashing, a silken timbre entering his deep voice lasciviously.  His hand trailed over a pale hip, and cupped the flesh beneath it.  Legolas nearly grinned back.

“Of course, you realize…you’ll regret that.”


The rain poured on heavily, so heavily that it was impossible to find where the rain ended and the mist began.  Small trickles of water poured off the roofs in vertical streams, landing on the streets to become small creeks and smaller rivers, before disappearing to holes in stone topped with metal strainers.  As a major city, even in its decline, Gondor boasted one the few city-wide aqueduct systems, to keep the rains from flooding the city streets as was wont to happen to other lesser cities. 

Aragorn and Legolas walked through the rain in companionable silence, indifferent to the wet.  They did not hold hands or touch, but sometimes Aragorn would glance to side to see a faraway look in Legolas eyes, and a small smile on his lips.  Aragorn was fighting the impulse to smirk, and to touch Legolas on the shoulder.

“What will you do when you return home?” Aragorn broke the quiet gently.

When I return home?”

“Indeed.  Or are you planning to take up a permanent residence in Gondor?  I’m sure we can find a place, after the war.  I’m sure they’ll welcome warriors, if only to have them for hunters in the woods.”

“I am certain the people would welcome their king, should they find him.”

“…I’m not so sure of that…So are you really thinking of staying?”

“I have a choice?”

”Of course.  You always have a choice.”

“…Hmm.  I would like to stay…if everything goes to plan.  It is pleasant here.  But I mean to see my father as soon as possible.  His health was…rough, when I left.”

Aragorn nodded, and fought down the impulse to touch Legolas again.

“What of you?  Where shall you go, if you choose not here?” Legolas queried, his eyes turning to Aragorn.

“…don’t know.  I could go back to wandering, back to the road.  I was comfortable there.  I’d—I’d like to stay here.  Help where needed.  If they’d have me.”

“They would.  They call for their king.”

“Not for Strider.”

“One and the same, if you hear them out.”

“…Maybe I’ll go with you.  Back to your home,” Aragorn purred, grinning at the subsequent shiver and blush, eyes glinting when Legolas looked away.  “In the woods.  Keep you company…in case you get bored.”

Legolas guwaffed in an unrefined way, his voice stronger.

“An impossibility, with you there.  Getting drunk every other night,” Aragorn chuckled, “picking fights with any and all,” a snicker and illicit caress down Legolas’ arm, “moping around all day and keeping people up at all ill hours of the night—By the gods you act as youth, are you never sated?”

Legolas pushed Aragorn’s hand down from his neck and ear, a faint color already starting in the angles of his cheeks.  Aragorn grinned.  Sometimes, it was better just to give in to temptation.  He was learning that the results were not as damning as he had always believed.

“Ah, feeling your age, old man?  Fear not, I can change that…”

Legolas looked at him sharply, while Aragorn simply smiled at him innocently and held his hands up.  Except that Aragorn very rarely looked innocent.  He hardly ever did.  Yet he did look…



“…Your hair.”

“What about it?”

“It’s…darker.  And your face is…lighter.”

“…It’s probably the cold.”

“No.  It looks…younger.  You…look younger…Strange.”


“Chose a rite bonny time ta make up yer differences, ye did!  Anyone else wouldda picked a nice spot by a waterfall, maybe a diamond mine with smooth stone on yer back…gems overhead.”

Legolas smiled absently and nodded his consent while ineffectually retying the same knot on his pack for the fifth time.  Gimli watched quietly. 

“And you two pick Mordor’s doorstep, outta all the spots in Middle Earth.”

Legolas bobbed his head a second time, before momentarily frowning and setting about retying his knot. 

“What a complete toff.”

Gimli waited for a reaction, astounded when all he received was the faint, continuous smile and gentle nod, the faraway smirk never fully leaving Legolas’ eyes or the corners of his mouth.  They had been gone for five hours, rushing into camp together, not even bothering to come separately, at the beginning of breakfast.  Legolas had been a little flushed and not quite as distantly alert and courteous as he usually was, constantly smiling, and Aragorn had looked…different.  Very different.  Nearly… cheerful, and much healthier and younger.  Even an Elf, Gimli thought, could figure out what had happened.

”Aragorn ‘ad better not be the same, so ‘elp me god!”


Legolas’ head snapped up, eyes alert with a slight brighter sheen, and a darker smirk widening to show a quick glint of white before melting back into a harmless, gentle, faint smile.  Gimli scowled.

“Elves are such idiots.  Ye prick!  What a bunch of posturing toffs, ‘ave ye even been listening to a single damned thing I’ve said?  You ‘aven’t ‘ave ye?  I pray Aragorn is not the same, I can take one daft elf but at a time; two is madness!”

Legolas smiled and his eyes glimmered as he went back to his knot.

“Oh.  That again.  Fear not, Aragorn is not Elf, of that I can guarantee completely.  In total confidence.”

“Humph.  I can imagine.”

Legolas gave another perennial grin and nod, seeming to conquer his knot terminally.  His mind seemed to finally register Gimli’s comment on setting for Aragorn’s and his…new understanding.

“I grant you agreement in the place and time; there may have room for improvement.  Certain-“

Legolas frowned and tilted his head to look at a spot on the floor, where Gimli could not see his eyes.

“Certain arrangements should…have been changed, certain agreements—broken.”  He appeared to rethink, and his voice came out still strong, yet uneven.  “Clarified.”

He swallowed.  Gimli narrowed his eyes.  Trust an Elf to tie the truth around with twisty words.  Legolas appeared to be fighting himself and conquer, although grudgingly. 

“But—to wait would have been worse.  The one day everything is perfect…may well be the day everything dies.”

Legolas looked up, and Gimli felt his stomach crunch.  Legolas smiled. 

“The day is nigh upon us, my friend.  We should go out to meet it, you agree?”

Gimli blinked suspiciously, not trusting the faint smile or gentle, amiable smile. 

Elves wore the brightest colors, but they had lived and thrived in the darkest times.  They had the skills of the demons and monsters themselves, but weren’t condemned for them because they knew how to share and wash their hands and faces before company.  Elves knew the benefits of kindness and friendship.  But the skills remained.  What couldn’t be killed, what couldn’t be forgotten, was shut quietly away—but that didn’t mean it couldn’t come out again.  How long had Legolas been alive?  How much had he seen?

“Will ye be right?” Gimli asked quietly, the belligerence and indignance gone from his voice, a somber concern echoing in his tone.

Legolas nodded his head.

“I am not made of glass.  I have survived life thus far, I will walk further yet.”

“Aye.  But ye’ll have me there.  Dinna ye ferget that, di’ye ken me?”

Legolas looked up as Gimli swatted his hands away, picked the knot open, then in a twist, tug, and flip of the wrist tied a knot as swiftly as Legolas ever had, although in a different style he didn’t recognize and much securer and stronger.

“Hmph.  And maybe one day ye’ll learn ta tie a decent knot.  Walkin’ in the damn woods’ll rot your mind certain as not, wouldena recommend it a’tall.”


Legolas fingered the knot.

“Thank you.  But now I have a destination.  It will not be long now.”


And then the war was over.  Not in day, not in year, and would not be over before Aragorn’s lifetime was over and would not end when Middle Earth was on its deathbed…but the war was over in a second.  And it was done. 

The Ringbearer was returned to them breathing, the hero of the Age alive after the battle.  Only he wasn’t.  He was burned and scarred, broken and shattered in so many pieces that Aragorn had been stunned, and hadn’t even tried to heal him, had no idea where to start or what to do.  Gandalf had tried, and had accomplished much, much less than he had tried.  The Ringbearer was returned alive.  Yet the Ringbearer stayed there dead.

It was no secret among those close that Aragorn blamed himself heavily.

Gingerly, slowly, people picked themselves off and up from the wreckage, and looked around, and wondered if they were alive, before stumbling back to the ground. 

Together, the leaders of the realm, Faramir the Captain of the Guard, Imharail the Prince of Dol Amroth, Gandalf the White of the Istari and Aragorn, King of Gondor, put it all back together, and healed as best as possible.  And the war was not yet over.

By bits and pieces, through talks and time and healing…the people and land were put together.  And then made whole.

And then the Elves came: the Elven lords Elrond and Galadriel and Celeborn, to acknowledge and bless the new kingdom and honor the old alliances that once bound them together.  The Elves came also, to say goodbye.


A/N: Oooo…the angst comes next.  The angst, and the final chapter.  The story, could, quite possibly, if you the reader should desire.  I’m logging in the next chapter as an epilogue, so it isn’t necessary—it isn’t vital that it’s read—because it really is kind of sad.  I like this ending myself actually, even it is missing the constant tension and anguish that pretty much strings through all the chapters, I did this one when I was more relaxed and said, “Ah, the hell.  It’ll all be cool eventually right?”  It’s fluffy and soft and sweet, but…everything has to end sometime right? 

And everything ends with death.  Because no one’s ever written their autobiography postmortem…yet.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who helped me through this fic, especially when I wasn’t sure what to do or how to do it, and pushed me on when I felt like falling because going on was too hard. 

Shout out goes to Blanton Cirith, who wears blue socks, Kyrri who is sometimes Irish for her pleasure, Lux/Lucia for vital, vital help in the beginning middle section and hopefully isn’t growing up (don’t grow up!), Jessie, the Ice Cream Assassin, Alura who wants me to quit a job I don’t have :)…, and especially Kharessa Bloodrose who proved that interesting people sometimes live with cows and are married and writes essays for fun and useful feedback.

I’d also like to thank many reviewers, who really gave birth to the story.  Originally, this fic was meant to be an one-shot, starting and ending with the first chapter where Aragorn narrates.  It bloomed into something totally unexpected, something that would have totally daunted me and stopped me if I had known it would have come this far in the beginning.  But there you have it.  This is the end. 

-Thank You!  And GOODNIGHT!

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